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UCL: Benzema hat-trick knocks out PSG as City ease through

REAL Madrid staged a stirring comeback on Wednesday night to advance to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League 3-2 on aggregate at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain.

After going down 2-0 on aggregate and with less than 30 minutes left in the tie, the 13-time champions were rescued by Karim Benzema, who scored a superb hat-trick to earn them a 3-1 win on the night and send them through.

Kylian Mbappe, who is being courted by the Spanish giants, had given PSG the lead on the night with a fine 39th minute finish and Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked on course for the last eight with a 2-0 aggregate advantage.

However, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a huge mistake that changed the course of the match with 29 minutes left, as Benzema pounced after the Italian dallied on the ball in his own box when he could have simply cleared it.

Luka Modric then set Benzema up for Madrid’s second in the 76th minute to level the tie against a clearly nervous PSG. The Frenchman completed his treble two minutes later, driving a low effort into the bottom right corner.

At the age of 34 years and 80 days, Benzema became the oldest player to score a Champions League hat-trick, taking over from Olivier Giroud.

It had looked bleak for Real Madrid early on at a packed Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, with the visitors running the show and taking a hugely deserved leave until Donnarumma’s inexplicable error handed the initiative to the hosts.

Marco Verratti was sdominant in midfield, Mbappe was causing all sorts of problems while Neymar and Lionel Messi worked themselves into some dangerous positions as the hosts struggled to contain their more fluent opponents before Donnarumma’s intervention.

In the other Champions League round of 16 match on Wednesday night, Manchester City and Sporting Lisbon drew 0-0 at the Etihad, with the English club advancing to the quarter-finals 5-0 on aggregate.

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